New Year Resolutions 0 comments on 2018 goals – August & September updates

2018 goals – August & September updates

;tldr I missed a month, and no one said a thing :-p And life is good; so nothing to worry about

Get to 175 lbs

Very slow progress, and yet it feels good. Lots of ups and downs, and as you can see in the graph the number is better than January, but not moving anywhere fast.

1 book per month

Tons of reading in the last few months whether because of vacation or reading on the subway instead of playing video games. It’s a good pattern to get into for sure.

An American Socialist 0 comments on Why we need to publicly fund students beyond high school

Why we need to publicly fund students beyond high school

I believe the federal government should fund the education of all Americans for up to four years beyond high school.

Why? The federal government owns three large problem areas – (1) passing, enforcing, and deciphering laws, (2) defending the nation, and (3) regulating the economy of the nation.

It’s this third area into which I want to dive.

We provide for public K-12 because it benefits us as a society to have an educated electorate and an educated workforce. Let’s ignore the fact for a second that our electorate may or may not be served by this system, and focus on the workforce piece.

There are fewer and fewer jobs for which a high school education is enough to be able to contribute to society. And simply changing the high school curriculum isn’t enough.

Without paying for further education beyond high school, we will have failed as a society to build a 21st Century job-ready workforce.

I disagree with many on the Left who immediately go to paying for a college education. Going to a 4-year Tier I research university isn’t the right choice for everyone. But we do need to make sure that we allow future truck drivers, engineers, farmers, doctors, lawyers, and small business owners the opportunity to learn not only how to excel in their trade, but also how to build a business.

Imagine that there is money for a student to not only learn how to be an electrician, but to learn how to run their own company.

There is money for the artist to not only learn how to sculpt, but to learn how to market their work as well.

There is money to allow someone to earn their commercial driving license, establish their own LLC, and a loan program to buy their first truck (ok, now I’m pushing it a bit).

The 21st century needs a populace with a different set of skills and knowledge than the 20th century did. To try to look at what worked in 1984 and compare it to what will work in 2024 ignores how much the world has changed.

And by investing in our children, and funding education beyond high school, we will create a more resilient economy and a more robust society.

For those reasons, I believe you should vote for candidates that support publicly funding students beyond high school to help build a 21st century workforce for America.

An American Socialist 0 comments on My Primer on American Socialism

My Primer on American Socialism

Because

They’ll go to the moon
                   and beyond,
to places even telescopes can’t see.
But when will no one go hungry
                                                               on earth
                    or fear others
                    or push them around,
                    shun them
                    or steal their hope?
Because I responded to this question
                                    I’m called a Communist.

Nazim Hikmet (1958) 

A combination of factors over the last 18 months – my lack of enthusiasm for Hilary Clinton as a candidate, the election of Donald Trump as President, the rapid growth in wealth disparity in America, and the ever increasing prospect of a high growth, jobless future economy –  has jump started my search for a new political and economic identity. 

So I did some reading.

Polyani’s book forced me to ask myself why I thought we lived in an economic model that was a tide which lifted all boats, and I realized – very quickly – that we don’t. His clear – yet dense – treatise on the imperfections of our economic & political system helped me start to build a framework and a new political identity built around Socialism.

But Socialism is a bad word in American politics. I think this comes from misinformation, and charged rhetoric. So – I wanted to start a different conversation where we can share in this framework together, and have a better informed conversation about the America we want to build in the 21st Century.

What is Socialism?

American Socialism is a theory that proposes that, at the same time, we maximize wealth and minimize poverty. American Socialism is a system that says that American citizens should bear the cost of minimizing poverty while guaranteeing the integrity of free and dynamic markets that make Americans rich. With Socialism, a business, corporation, or market that can only exist by maintaining, or expanding, poverty, will fail (primarily because it cannot support basic costs that a Socialist society would demand). A recent example –

  • A local bookstore shuts down because it cannot afford to pay its workers a livable wage – This is the right outcome for a Socialist because the bookstore can only exist if the people who work there are willing to work multiple jobs to make ends meet.

What is Socialism NOT?

  • Socialism and Communism are not the same – Communism removes the ability to accrue wealth by ensuring that all wealth is redistributed  to the maximum ability of the state. Communists believe less in the power of the market, and instead focus on the power of the commune. Much of the Left in Europe is Communist. The Left of Nancy Pelosi politicians in America are not communists – they are Socialists. 
  • Nor is Socialism and a Centrally Planned economy the same – Socialists in America do not seek central planning of the economy. They believe in the power of the Market. They also believe that the Government unfairly favors Corporations at the expense of workers, and wish to see that imbalance right-sized.

What would be different if America were more Socialist?

  • Creative destruction wouldn’t destroy local communities at the expense of innovation – Today when we have innovation – let’s say a new trade agreement that allows less expensive t-shirts to come into America from Mexico – there are winners and losers as discrete groups. In a Socialist society, the winners in that scenario are no longer discrete and disconnected from the losers. Instead, they are responsible, through taxes on their innovation and a government who is committed to retraining, retooling, and reinvesting in the losing community, for ensuring that their innovation IS a tide that lifts all boats.
  • People wouldn’t die because they were too poor to live – 40% of Americans can’t find $400 in the event of an emergency. 1/3 of the fundraisers on GoFundMe are for healthcare costs. A huge portion of Americans are too poor to live, and a parking ticket, a malfunctioning car, a missed bus, or a sick child is the difference between a roof over their head and living on the streets. The wealthiest nation in the world shouldn’t have such a huge part of its population living at such a precipice.
  • Citizens United would be overturned – And with it, the impact of corporations, unions, lobbyists, and PACs in our government at all levels would be reduced. We the People would once again be the influential force behind the politicians who we elect. This comes from both a belief that the individual citizen must be as powerful as the Corporation as well as a belief that protecting the ballot box is a key function of a successful democracy.

Why does 21st Century America need an American brand of Socialism?

One key thing above all else pushed me in this direction – if we are going to reap the benefits of more technology and automation to build a wealthier society at the expense of jobs (which means at the expense of healthcare, housing, and education for almost all Americans), then we need a political system that will catch the disenfranchised, and give them the opportunity to stand back up.

And as we continue to increase the ability of machinery and technology to accomplish our jobs, we increasingly build a society that is wealthier (everyday things cost less), but in which fewer can participate (no jobs).

A more Socialist America would support the market movement towards innovation while ensuring that there was a path to dignity for those who are now replaced by technology (which will increasingly be white collar workers, and not just their manufacturing and construction counterparts)

New Year Resolutions, Uncategorized 0 comments on 2018 Goals – July Update

2018 Goals – July Update

;tldr Some wonderful new patterns are emerging, and I think I’m more sustainably finding a path towards health. Also shoutout to John Holland and all the other folks who always have my back on these goals.

Get to 175 lbs
July weight chart

July weight chart

The last month has been an exercise in teaching myself how to fit health into the life I live today, and not comparing it to what health looked like when I was younger. The constant need to catch up to where I was in college and high school has killed me – mainly mentally due to an inevitable feeling of constant failure. As I’ve found a way to reframe my own expectations, I’ve also found myself much more satisfied with one pick up soccer game per week, or one rock climb date with Amelia.

It won’t get me where I want quickly, but I can now see a way to actually get there, and be happier along the way.

1 book per month

I kept the fiction genre going for another month with The Early Short Stories of Truman Capote. It’s a great combination of seeing how genius develops with seeing the process of how creativity works. Some of the stories were just brilliant. Others – were just eh. But I’d definitely recommend it.

2 date nights with Micky

We only pulled off one date night in July, but it was AWESOME.

We went out with a group of Luka’s classmates parents, and did Korean BBQ and karaoke. The food was good. The singing was awful. But the night was great. In August we’ll make up for some lost time with Geoff and Wendy in town to save the day!

1 date per child per quarter

Amelia and her friend M have decided to try out for the local rock climbing gym competitive team. I told her she could only do it if she practiced, and listened to instruction while practicing. And she said sure! It’s been a blast doing this together. She’s getting really good, and it’s awesome to see her practice something methodically and get better at it. A fun activity that we can do together for a while yet. Very excited to support her in this.

The big kids left at 7:15am for three weeks to hop on a bus, and go to camp. One of those weeks, Micky was out of town, and so sleepy head Theo had to wake up and take them to the bus stop with me. We’d drop them off, and have the most fun morning together. We made kofte. We chased Pokémon. We hung out at Starbucks. He’s so magical, and it’s amazing to have this time with him.

New Year Resolutions 0 comments on 2018 Goals – June Update

2018 Goals – June Update

tldr; Losing track, and losing motivation 🙁

Get to 175 lbs
It’s worse than May, but realistically that was unsustainable. I’m starting to ask myself whether driving towards a number really matters. Or whether I’m really just looking to sustain a lifestyle, and the number is a barometer of if it’s getting worse or better. Nonetheless, this is the most demotivating of the set :-/

June 2018 weight update
June 2018 weight update

1 book per month
I hopped into some classics this month – specifically Of Mice and Men. I can’t figure out if I love it or hate it, but I completely understand why it’s different, unique, reproduced, examined, and the like. I also love reading stories that are set in places where I’ve been. And Steinbeck did a great job storytelling that road and the scenery that is Salinas and the surrounding area in California.

2 date nights with Micky
I don’t remember if we pulled this off or not 🙁

1 date per child per quarter
I also have no idea if I pulled this one off or not. I’m almost certain the answer is no though 🙁

New Year Resolutions 0 comments on 2018 Goals – May Update

2018 Goals – May Update

tldr; Nothing like Ramadan and Strep Throat to get you back on track!

Get to 175 lbs
I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about what healthy means. Is it the number? The lifestyle? An ability to do something that I can’t do today? I’m not quite at an answer yet, but in the month of May I made a ton of progress (unintentionally) towards this goal. The line is steep, and the probability that I keep it with an upcoming trip to Turkey is – zero.

1 book per month
Great book month! I’m almost done with my Nazim Hikmet book. I finished a book on Quantum Physics called Reality is Not What it Seems, and I also knocked out The First 90 Days as I prepared for the new job. I’m ahead of schedule on getting to 12 books read this year, and I’m both excited by it, and a bit stuck. I genuinely have no idea what to read next – so all ideas are gladly welcome.

2 date nights with Micky
The one date night I know we had was with Nikki & Maddie, and that was AWESOME! We went to some place on Flatbush (I can’t remember the name), and had a bunch of dishes, shared them all, and just laughed the night away. I love them so much. Just so much fun every time we get together.

But I have no idea if we did a second date night or not 🙁 For the life of me, I can’t remember if we had a second date night this month. It’s been really intense with closing out work at Hearsay, starting a new job, Micky’s work getting intense, and the like. I’ve clearly got to get better at documenting date nights.

1 date per child per quarter
No solo dates with the kids this month. It’s getting harder to do this with the big two. They just have too much going on. It’s a bit easier with Theo because he does his own thing, and you can just join in. I’m going to have to really emphasize this one as we push into the summer months.

New Year Resolutions 0 comments on 2018 Goals – April Update

2018 Goals – April Update

tldr; Sometimes you’ve gotta go backwards to go forward again 🙁

Get to 175 lbs
A month where I went backwards. It’s everything. Travel. Stress. More travel. More stress. Not being disciplined about calories. But also, not being committed to the positive benefits that a healthier body would give. I think that’s the big take away I’ve realized lately. If I only do this from a negative place, then I’m always going to lose momentum and fail.

I’ve got to embody healthiness as a positive win for myself, not just a necessary evil to not die.

Screenshot 2018-05-13 08.46.03
April Weight Chart

1 book per month
Reading was fun in April.

Micky got me the Adam Grant book Originals, and I devoured it. It’s superb. In so many fantastic ways. The research is well done. The storytelling is well done. I loved it. You should definitely read this book.

I also – finally – finished The Myth of Sysiphus. The essay itself has incredibly well written highs, and incredibly boring lows. The additional essays tacked on are relatively a miss. But if you were to now ask me why Existentialism became the religion of the 20th century I would completely understand. In the absurdity of post-World War II, facing a Cold War, if you abandoned the existing organized religions, then you honestly had no other choice. It fills so many holes that believing in nothing would leave in your life. Maybe a neo-existenialism will rise up out of the fascism of our modern moment…

2 date nights with Micky
We hopped over the pond to the UK where we did both date nights in one week this month. One was a 2 night getaway to Cornwall (which was AWESOME). And the second was a night where a bunch of our UK friends came down to a little cottage we rented, and hung out with us (which was AWESOME).

And then we spent the rest of the month apart due to travel 🙁 that was less awesome.

1 date per child per quarter
Theo and I snuck in a date day this month. It was small and fun – to Times Square. The highlight was M&Ms with Theo’s name on them. More to be found here.

New Year Resolutions 0 comments on 2018 Goals – March update

2018 Goals – March update

tldr; Steady progress

Get to 175 lbs
I haven’t nailed the pattern of exercise to accelerate things, but I’m solidly below 200 pounds (199 lbs). The goal in April will be focusing on getting exercise into the groove in one way or another to really push me into the 180s before the summer months begin. Less so for swimsuit season, and just more for personal health. This is a tough one, but a necessary one.

Weight Chart - March 2018
Weight Chart – March 2018

1 book per month
I finished Business Model Generation, and was able to read another book – Keeping Your Sh*t Together. It’s a phenomenally well written book on how to recognize and manage your mental and emotional health while going through the ups and downs of running a business. Whether you’re the founder, a GM, a product lead, a manager, an individual contributor, it doesn’t matter – this book can be useful for you.

It’s one of those books where you read it, and then need to keep it on your shelf so that when you catch yourself in one of those moments you can pull it out and use it as a reference.

2 date nights with Micky
Micky and I had a really great date day right at the end of the month – we bought a new house in upstate New York! It’s going to be really fun to have a place to go where the kids can get muddy, I can fish, and Micky can have a project.

We also did a grown up night with Theo’s friend Cal’s parents. That’s what happens when you have kids. They’re the ones who define who your friends are, and you just hope they choose well. Theo chose very well here, and we had a really fun night at Balabastoo eating all sorts of great Israeli food. I would highly recommend it.

1 date per child per month quarter
This was Luka’s month (I think Amelia missed out in Q1). We went to the ACC Basketball Tournament to watch NC State break my heart. You can read all about it here. It’s so much fun watching him become a sports fan, and falling in love with the things that I used to do as a kid. There’s really nothing better than sharing that kind of experience with my son. It was amazing.

New Year Resolutions 1 comment on 2018 Goals – February update

2018 Goals – February update

tldr; A good month on almost all fronts

Get to 175 lbs
Big jump towards the goal in February – where I lost 8 pounds. This came down to three factors (1) I got the Flu, and literally shaked, sweat, and starved myself down a few pounds (2) intermittent fasting which is working out for me well (I’m doing 15-9, and working towards 16-8) (3) keto diet which I hate, but it’s forcing me to snack less and eat smarter which is working well.

In March, I’m going to start rock climbing twice a week after the babies go to sleep to try to add exercise to the mix, and hopefully as the weather turns find a soccer game.

1 book per month
I didn’t finish my book Business Model Generation, but I love it. I’ll finish it soon. It’s got me buzzing again about things to build, and figuring out whether they are products or businesses. Thinking about business models, and how to more creatively use business models to generate innovation. Good read that I would highly recommend.

2 date nights with Micky
Months with a three-day weekend make this one a lot easier to achieve. Micky and I had a really fun President’s Day together where we hung out with Ibai and Alyssa, walked around Manhattan, and just spent time in each other’s space. Couple that with a fun birthday dinner for Dom, and another date night on top of that, and it was an unusually active month.

My favorite though was spending 2.5 hours together trying to piece together a 500-piece jigsaw puzzle. We’re only about 25% through, and I’m worried the rest will take even more time… but it was an awesome, technology-free night.

1 date per child per month quarter
The last Saturday of February, I spent the full day with just Theo… and it was glorious. We went to the American Natural History Museum. We saw blue whales, dinosaurs, elephants. We had a great time in the cantina drinking inappropriately sugary drinks. When we hopped onto the subway on the way home, Theo passed out, and all I could think to myself was just how wonderful it is to have him.

This is probably my favorite of my goals, and March is gonna come with lots of fun opportunities to do more.

 

New Year Resolutions 1 comment on 2018 Goals – January Update

2018 Goals – January Update

Get to 175 lbs
Not the best start, but 4 pounds is something. I started the year at 210 lbs (holy shit – I know), and I’m down to 206. Given CKO and Vegas, it isn’t horrible. It’s also going to take more than disciplined diet though because I’m not that disciplined 🙁

1 book per month
I finished The Great Transformation by Karl Polyani. It’s superb. I think everyone should do themselves a huge favor, and put this book on their bed stand. It’s a treatise on how economic liberalism is destined to fail, and how we’ve spent 200 years lying to ourselves about the viability of raw capitalism. Look all around us, and we’ll see that Polyani was right, and his views on Poor Laws and Regulations could have easily predicted the economic situations in which we find ourselves today (poor labor protections, growing divide between poor and rich, misuse of land, money and people). A much better book for the emerging Socialist than Mr. Marx in my opinion.

2 date nights with Micky
We pulled this one off in a bit of a funny way. We did a date night to see The Shape of Water – which is a stunning film. And then ran away from the kids for a day (courtesy of Doruk and Hanna) to go house hunting in Upstate NY. I think though in February that we’ll try harder to do two proper date nights 🙂

1 date per child per month
I failed horribly at this one. I think I’ll change this one to 1 date per child per quarter. There really aren’t enough weekends and moments to find 1 date per month. The upcoming ACC Basketball Tournament could be a good start…

Overall – not a bad start. It’s been good forcing myself to read more, and I think I’m going to start to make more and more progress on the weight goal. More information on both coming soon 🙂